Saturday, July 16, 2011

ARC Review: Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey


Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?

Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.

Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.

Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, Becoming Marie Antoinette will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike.


Publication date: August 9th 2011 by Ballantine Books 

The Elliott Review:

This book is an extremely compelling read. The author blends very intricately detailed research with a narrative that is stunning in its poignancy. Marie Antoinette's character is developed extremely well, and her struggles to become worthy of marrying Louis are exciting and shocking all in one. Although modern day readers cannot fully understand this process, we can relate to the feelings that she experiences.

The strange fact of Louis not consummating their marriage until seven years into it is a large part of this book. Grey characterizes Louis in a way that neither makes him into a horrible, weak person nor glosses over his awkwardness. As his relationships with Marie Antoinette grows, he becomes a very sympathetic character who I really, really, really wanted to see great things happen to! The issue of their marriage being consummated becomes important throughout the story, obviously, and the tension between them kept building. The emotional toll that Louis's issues take on the couple leaves the reader filled with almost as much frustration as they must feel!

When I began reading, I didn't realize that this is the first in the Marie Antoinette trilogy, so certain things that I expected to happen due to history (consummation and death) did not occur at the end of the book and will obviously be dealt with in books to come.

I would recommend this book to any reader of historical fiction. It's the perfect blend of history and romance.

Young Adult Notes:

This is an adult book, but I think that it would be a great crossover book for older YA readers. The prose is more complicated than a typical YA read, so it may appeal more to especially high school aged readers. There is not much in this that would give concern to parents of said high schoolers other than a few maybe too-intimate details in certain scenes, but that would be (to me) more of a middle school aged concern since it's nothing overtly graphic.

Source: Thanks to Ballantine for sending a copy of this book for a fair review.

1 comment:

  1. Oooh...I must add this one to my wish list. I love anything about Marie Antoinette!